De Boer backs Brazil at home World Cup
Former Netherlands international Ronald de Boer has backed Brazil to prove a strong force at their home World Cup in 2014.
De Boer is impressed with the emergence of talents such as Neymar, Lucas Moura and Oscar and sees them as one of the favourites to lift the iconic trophy for a sixth time.
"Brazil will always be one of the favourites, especially with the next World Cup at home for them. The likes of Neymar, Lucas, Oscar … (they have) so many great players. It's always a joy to watch," de Boer said.
He added that the Netherlands need to work hard to consistently produce at least 'five or six' excellent youth players to compete with the world's best at the World Cup, which gets underway in just over 18 months' time.
"There is a trend now in the Netherlands where we have to be creative. What we see now with Ajax and the new philosophy of Johan (Cruyff), we mustn't be satisfied now with youth players that are good, they must be excellent," he said at the Soccerex conference in Rio de Janeiro.
"We think that we can create and develop players that you see in Barcelona, because we are almost the creators of Barcelona, with Cruyff, (Frank) Rijkaard, (Louis) van Gaal, with total football."
De Boer feels that the rise of well-established football stars, such as Didier Drogba, plying their trade outside of Europe can only benefit the game's global appeal.
"I never thought or expected that I would play in Qatar for four years at the end of my career. I think what football is bringing to Brazil - the economy is going well here in Brazil, a lot of football stars are staying in Brazil and it's a great adventure," he said.
"We're sitting here in Rio, the lifestyle is great and it's not a punishment to play here. I can really imagine that people are going to make a decision (to move away from Europe).
"First of all, the money must be right for players, and that's probably the case at the moment, and people now go to China like Drogba.
"It's moving; and football is not only focused on Europe. In one way, that is a good thing because it makes football more global and even bigger, and you probably will get better players in those areas as a result. That makes it certainly better."